Building the New is as Important as Fighting the Old.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new. ~ Socrates

Nearly every week since November 8, we’ve met here to talk about how and what to fight during the next week.

Let’s face it – there’s a lot to fight against these days.

But by engaging in those fights, we’re also building.

We’re building personal and social infrastructure that can sustain movements like ours over the long term. We’re building new activists, new social norms, new groups, new friendships. You probably never called your Congressman before November 2016. Now he or she is hopefully high on your “recent calls” list. You may have never gone to a protest before. Now maybe you are organizing one.

There’s a lot to be worried about, and I can’t sugarcoat that. But I don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate what our hard work and our belief in ourselves has accomplished so far. It inspires me daily. I hope it inspires you too.

But I’m also glad that this week, the Senate Democrats are giving us some legislation to fight for – an exciting piece of health care legislation that will create a public option. Finally, we are fighting for – rather than against – something. Maybe it seems silly to celebrate what might seem like a mere difference in semantics – a slight change in focus.

But it matters.

Fighting for a $15 minimum wage feels different than fighting against substandard wages. Fighting for health care for all is different from fighting against an ACA repeal. The energy shifts. The motivation changes. Rather than being motivated by fear of loss, our motivation becomes hope. Our goal should be to look to the sky, not to batten down the hatches.

I know it’s not reasonable to expect that we can achieve all of our pie-in-the-sky goals. But we can unveil them, and show the country that we’re not simply a party of obstructionists.

We’re a movement built on hope, formed of people who believe in the power of the American spirit and soul. We’ve shown over the last ten months that what seems impossible is possible, when we all work together to lift everyone up.

Let’s keep lifting everyone up.

And let’s get to work.

Tuesday: Fight Against the DACA Repeal

Call: Your Senators and your Congresscritter (you can go here to look them up).

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to support DACA recipients – who do so much to support our economy. If DACA is repealed, our state/our district will lose $[go here to look up the amount]. Will Senator/Congressman/woman _____ support the Dream Act S.1615 (Senate) -OR- American Hope Act H.R. 3591 and Bridge Act H.R. 496 (House)? [If no: “I’m really disappointed to hear that. As I’m sure you’re aware, DACA recipients pose no threat to our country and are productive members of our society. I would have thought Senator/Congressman/woman ____ would be in favor of measures that strengthen our economy. When is the next time the Senator/Congressman/woman is going to be in my area? I’d love to discuss this in person with him/her.] Thanks for your time!

Wednesday: Fight For Medicare for All

On Wednesday, Senator Sanders will unveil new healthcare legislation. Senators Booker, Warren, Harris and Merkley are all co-sponsors of the bill, and it has been supported by Senators Gillenbrand, Schatz, Markey and Whitehouse (just today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declined to support it, favoring instead to protect the ACA). We can expect to see a lot of coverage about what it does and doesn’t do in the coming days.

What I don’t think it should do? Divide us. Let’s separate the fact that we need to fight AGAINST the ACA repeal from our desire to fight FOR healthcare for all. Truly. We can, and should, do both.

Call: your Senators and Congresscritter

Script: Hi, this is _____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to encourage Senator/Congressman/woman _____ to support the Sanders “medicare for all” legislation. Health care is a human right – not something that should depend upon a person’s socioeconomic status. In our country we pride ourselves on taking care of each other, so let’s do that and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Thanks for your time.

Thursday: Fight for Harvey and Irma Victims

Although I’ve not yet seen a fund that specifically addresses the Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island victim of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (e-mail me at if you know of one!), the One America Appeal is an initiative of our living former Presidents to help the residents of Texas and Florida recover. One hundred percent of donations go to victims in those states via state-based funds. You can read more about it and donate here. (Note: this is a great option for those of you who are reticent about donating to the Red Cross.)

Friday: Fight For More, Not Fewer, Voters

Since 2012, the fourth Tuesday in September has been recognized as National Voter Registration Day. It’s “celebrated” each year with voter registration drives and events; in fact, last year the events held on National Voter Registration Day registered 750,000 people! Woot! Civic-minded folks like you and I can help by going to National Voter Registration Day’s website, finding a local voter registration event near us, registering our own event, or signing up to volunteer at an already-scheduled event.

I know we share concerns about voter suppression. Let’s do what we can to bring more people to the polls!

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome!

Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.

Have a thought? A small deed to suggest? Share it here!

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